The first Van Wijks at the Cape of Good Hope: an introduction
email: Richard Ball
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When I first discovered that I had Van Wijk ancestors (Catharina Elisabeth van Wijk, who named her parents as Gerrit van Wijk Ariesz and Maria Magdalena Eckhof), I immediately consulted De Villiers/Pama: Genealogies of Old South African families, 1966 edition, and the few other reference books that I have here.

There I discovered that Gerrit was the son of Arij van Wijk, the original immigrant ancestor (stamvader) of this family and his wife Cornelia Helm and that he, Gerrit, had been married 3 times, his last wife being Maria Magdalena mentioned above. De Villiers/Pama credited him with 19 children.

My suspicions were immediately aroused. Although some of these gigantic families are genuine enough, I have found others to be the creations of genealogists (see Alewijn Smit d'oude and Alewijn Smit Jacobusz: for instance, who are treated as one person in De Villies/Pama). A little more reading in DeV/P revealed that Gerrit's third wife was the daughter of his first wife, his own step-daughter! I felt almost certain that such a marriage would not have been allowed under the marriage laws of the time so I consulted the South Afican Archives online index (NAAIRS) to find what documents I might order from the Cape to establish the facts about these people.

I started my quest around October 2002 and have now accumulated sufficient documentation to lay out the framework of these Van Wijk families as I believe they existed.

I searched for previous articles and found an interesting, if somewhat confused, theory1 of the origins within the Netherlands of the Van Wijks who came to the Cape of Good Hope towards the end of the Seventeenth century and whose many descendants live there still, but very little on the Van Wijk families at the Cape.

In the early records of inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope, the Muster Rolls of Free Persons (Monsterollen van Vrije Luijden), and the Tax Lists (Opgaafrollen) there are 3 Van Wijks featured:
1 Willem van Wijk who first appears as a free settler in 1678 as an apparently single man working in partnership with another free settler. He appears fairly regularly over the years, making his last appearence in 1702. I have prepared a timeline for him here.
2 Roelof van Wijk and his wife Trijntje Jans first appear in 1686 in the Cape Town baptismal registers when he and his wife were witnesses at the baptism of the son of Willem van Wijk. Their fist appearance in the muster and opgaaf rolls was in 1688. In the opgaaf rolls of that year they are listed as having one son.

They appear regularly over the years. The muster roll of 1692 credits them still with one child, but the Tax roll of the same year list them without any children. They make their last appearance apparently in 1698. See their timeline.
3 Arij van Wijk appears first in the Muster Roll of 1693 with his wife Cornelia Hellemans and 3 children and makes his last appearance in these records in 1712, the year before his death. See his timeline.
Philip van Wyck suggested1  that this Arij van Wijk was the son of Roelof van Wijk; that he was the one son listed with Roelof and his wife up to and including 1692; after which Arij appears in the records in 1693 with his newly married wife, Cornelia Helmes, and her three children by her previous husband.

Although I do believe that Arij van Wijk was the son of Roelof and Trijntje, I think that this child, listed with them in the Muster Rolls and the Opgaaf Returns, was probably another child. From 1688 to 1692 Arij van Wijk would have been aged 20 through to 24
2  - I do not think he would have been listed with his parents as a child at that age. 

My guess would be that Willem and Roelof van Wijk were brothers, both sons of an unknown Arij van Wijk
3, but I have so far come across no hard evidence of this.

My conclusions from the research I have done so far may be seen here:

Willem van Wijk
farmer of Sandwijk, in Drakensteijn
died 1702

Trijntje Harmenz
second wife of Willem van Wijk

Arie van Wijk
farmer  of Stellenbosch
born circa 1668, Amsterdam
died circa 1713, Stellenbosch

Gerrit van Wijk, mentioned above.

I would be very grateful to hear of any other information which may throw light on these people and their relationships.

The above notes were written and researched by Richard Ball ©2003 
with help from André Kellerman, Helena Liebenberg and Graham Lloyd.

1 The Ancestors of the South African Van Wyks in Holland, by Phillip van Wyck, in Familia, Vol 3, 1966, p42-48.
2 In his will, dated 1713, Arij van Wijk is described as having been born in Amsterdam and being 45 years old. 
3 Both named a son Arij, in both cases this would seem to have been their eldest son. In the baptismal entry for Arij the son of Roelof van Wijk and Trijntje Jans, Roelof is given the patronymic 'Adriaensz':

Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk
18.01.1668, Adrian
parents: Roelof Adriaensz van Wijk and Trijntje Jans
witnesses: Hendrik Coenraetsz van der Meijde and Aaltje Adriaens van Wijk

(Information supplied by Bob Kernkamp)

Names and words in blue are links to more information

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